Guide to the UTS Buildings

To get around UTS, there are only two things you need to know: The numbers that have been given to each building, and the fact that people in Building 5 do not know that they are in Building 5. Everything else you are about to read is irrelevant, or not relevant to Building 5, or both; this is because Building 5 is split into 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D, known to the locals simply as A123, B123, C123 and D123 (where 1 is a floor and 23 is a room number). Even then, the locals don’t know that the UTS Library is 5A.


Tower Building

Most people outside UTS think that this is the only building at UTS, and they’d be wrong. Most people inside UTS think that this is the ugliest building at UTS, and they’d be wrong. To see some celebrity photos of Building 1 in The Matrix, go to this page.

Building 1 contains some things you should probably know about, such as the Student Administration Unit for picking up post-notification appeal forms, a St George Bank that doesn’t dare shut down, a library return box that you can use without being seen, and a lonely row of tables where you can look up your exam results Without Being Seen(tm). Nearby is the official administration area where a student rally with high non-UTS representation occupied the area for 36 hours in 1997 and caused one gawd-awful smell. And that’s just level 4, the Broadway street level. Level 5 contains an all-purpose hall; level 6 a nice function centre, which is where the dance music is likely to be coming from if you can hear it from the street at midnight; and level 16, where you’ll find a 24-hour photocopying room. There are some nice views of Darling Harbour and Sydney Uni from the classrooms around level 25.

A word on the use of the lifts: Think of the “Even Lifts Only” button as in “limited stops”, as in faster. The other lifts are like all-stations trains, and there are only two of them versus four even-floor lifts. Astoundingly, after many years, people still do not learn the quicker way of doing things, which is to go to the nearest even floor, request an even floor lift, and walk down one floor via the stairs. The all-stops lifts are always stopping at floors where nobody is waiting for them because the person that pressed the button also requested an even-floor lift and got on that one because it came first. Having said that, these are probably some of the fastest lifts in Sydney, yet still manage to land with perfect precision every time.

Level 3 contains a lot of extra-curricular areas, such as the Union Activities Desk, where you can find out all about clubs to join, like ProgSoc and much more besides. Don’t confuse the UTS Union with the Students’ Association across the hall, who are there to help you in a student’s time of crisis (and an after-hours paper cutter). Around the corner from there is the university’s computer shop, Bits’n’PCs. Always check out the prices here to make sure you’re not paying as much as they ask. Back past the Activities Desk is the dining area which will be completely renovated over the next year or so, and one of the UTS Union newsagents, complete with scanning, colour printing, binding and laminating. The bar is down one end of Level 3, and a mini video-arcade to the side. One of the bargains of student life is right in the middle — the movie theatre, where titles which have just finished cinema release go on show to students for free twice daily (no ID checking).

Do not eat at the Student Union under the Tower — the subsidised food is neither subsidised, nor is it food. If you are a UTS student then you are much too lucky to put up with this. If it is cheap food you require, go to the McDonald’s and Burger King outside, wielding a VIP card for added value. If it is good food you require, try any of the other shops on that same strip (I recommend Subway). Still not satisfied? There’s something called the CBD just a few minutes’ walk away. Only those with the geographical aptitude of a fly will buy their food at UTS.

The toilets in this building are always full of graffiti and holes in the stalls with the diameter of a large sausage. Curiously, this is one of the few places in the world that the graffiti is actually anti-racist more often than it is racist.

Everyone already knows about the condom vending machines in the toilets in this building, so no more need be said.


Engineering &c

This building seamlessly connects to the Tower Building, and feels identical in many respects. Indeed, there is a rumour in UTS folklore that at the birth of the NSW Institute of Technology, there were plans for three “Tower” buildings, on the block bounded by Broadway, Harris, Thomas and Jones Streets. Each would have been wholly connected below ground level (4th floor), the way Buildings 1 and 2 are now. Actually if you go wondering around the real-life computer game maze that is Building 1 and 2’s labyrinth, you will pass through a timewarp and notice plenty of signs for “NSW Institute of Technology”.

Back to the future … you will be well advised to take full advantage of the free UTS Internet Café 24-hour computing labs available on level 4 (same level as Building 1). 2/418 is a 24-hour G3 Mac lab and 2/420 is a 24-hour Windows NT lab. (The Mac & NT logins are “student” and the password is blank). These are ITD labs, which means that any students can use them. There is another Windows NT lab in 4/421 and also a Solaris Unix lab in 4/419, but these shut at 9pm. It pains me to mention this to all and sundry, but the printing is 100% free here and probably will be for some time to come. If the labs are full and you have coursework to do, walk around them until you see someone running Hotmail, and tell them to get off. If they refuse, tell them that there is free web-based UTS email for all students, and that they wouldn’t be sending their email via California if it was really coursework. If that still fails, remember there is an “express” computer with a 5-minute limit in each lab. There is also an NT lab in Building 4 level 1, and a Mac lab in Building 6 level 2.

(Yes, that’s right! It’s a well-kept secret that each student can get their own ‘’ address simply by going to!)

There are some lifts in Building 2, but they are industrial grade and take very long to move anything, and have a nice “maximum clearance” bar for people like Telford to bump their head on. (Actually, they’re there to stop forklift drivers from levels 1 & 2 going for a cruise amongst the students in the lecture halls). You would be better advised to take the escalators in Building 1—because who else do you know has escalators at uni? — and spend 15 seconds daydreaming you were somewhere you would much rather be, like, say, a shopping centre. Then you can turn left and negotiate the odd set of mezzanine levels.

Access to Building 2 is only available via Building 1, and is thus available 24 hours. This makes Building 2 the ideal building to get a spot of sleep, especially if you’ve been working in the 24-hour labs. The black leather couches that populated the upper floors of Building 2’s atrium are now an endangered species, but if you drag a couple together you can still get adequate back support. You would be best advised to try and get a bit of kip between late evening and 3am, because the cleaners generally start making incessant rackets as only cleaners can, between 3am and 5am.

Building 2’s 24-hour labs also see some unique late-night events during the year. Twice yearly, a big-screen high-bandwidth trans-Pacific webcast is held as midnight cinema in 2/418, to celebrate MacWorld San Francisco and MacWorld New York. The next ones will be held around 12:01am on Wednesday 18 July, 2001; and at 04:00am on Wednesday 9 January, 2002.


Bon Marche

Rumour has it that when the revolution begins, it will begin here. This is the pink building, that is somewhat attached to the Broadway Co-op Bookshop, the Harris Street newsagent, a computer/stationery supplier and Yet Another Café. Each of these form critical fronts for the UTS Marxist Resistance. There is plenty of funky video equipment here that you will get to use if you achieved 99.95 in your UAI and got into a B.Design course. Otherwise, the only thing you’re likely to see in here is a lecture theatre on the top floor.

Entry to this building is either from the ground floor on Harris Street, or from the footbridge on level 2. The second entry doubles a handy exit when you’re trying to escape to Buildings 1 or 6, especially when a raid is on. Note that there are two sets of lifts — there is a lift most people don’t use, at the north of the building, that lives on level 2 when it’s idle. This makes it perfect to use when you enter from the back. The other lifts live on the ground floor. These are by far the bounciest lifts in the whole university, and surely one day the constrictive nature of these lifts will cause a mosh pit in one of them, and the cable will break.

You can get stuck in this building after security automatically locks it down. If you do, you can escape a Democratic Students’ Interrogation by the Harris Street fire exit at the southern (Broadway) end of the building.

The toilets in this building, when all is said and done, are quite the best, cleanest toilets this side of the cinema precinct, thanks to the good clientele of students.


The IT / Chemistry / Geology / Materials / Forensic Sciences / Gym / Hairdresser / “Is that ammonia I can smell?” Building

This is the ugliest building at UTS. The toilets in this building are also the worst in all of UTS, with the highest incidence of requests for casual gay sex — this has more to do with the kind of people who walk in from Harris St than the students who study there. The ProgSoc Executive envy you, because by the time we have graduated and you are still here, UTS will have started moving Building 4 into the ex-Fairfax ex-SOCOG building on the other side of Jones Street. Having said that, level 2 had a complete refit in 1998 but is off-limits except to postgraduates, presentations, faculty guest speakers and people/equipment that smell bad without any air-conditioning. Note carefully that the ground level floor is “G” not “1”, and that you will at some point wonder where 4/G02 is, because that is UTS’s largest lecture theatre (just off Harris Street) — this also had a refit, in 1994.

Above this on level 1, southern (Broadway) end, is one of the ITD labs available to all students, with Windows NT. The printer here has a low Mean Time Between Failures: You have been warned.

There used to be a mention of illicit drugs on level 2 of this building at, but this must have been pulled due to its nature. The GPS coordinates appeared to be for the Harris St end of the building, however.

Right next to that are the oldest lifts in the university, while more predictable in their operation than some, still have notices on the doors to the effect of “do not touch us, we’re now electrically motorised!” (when there is no tape saying “Police Line - Do Not Cross” across the doors). The other pair of lifts in this L-shaped building are the Thomas Street Lifts, which contrary to rumour, are not programmed by IT students — they behave much too poorly for that. Not only do they mistakenly wait open at the LG floor instead of G where the main entrance is; not only have they been known to stop 20cm above a floor when they open; not only have they been known to spend 15 minutes in stasis as they timeout a logic fault; not only do the doors tease you and spring open just as they are about to shut; but it would be wise to note that the north-west lift (Lift #2) will always stop at the floor below the one you pressed, when you’re going up. So to go to Level 3, press 4. If you really want 4, then you’ll just have to wait. To get to Level 5, take the Thomas Street lifts to Level 4, turn left, and take the stairs at the end of the corridor. By the way, the “close door” buttons are there for placebo purposes only.

Getting to Building 4 is a pain because it has no link to the others, although to/from Building 5, it is best to go via the Lower Ground exit at Thomas Street. You can avoid the rain by entering the Tower Building stairwell, exiting to Turner Lane and entering Building 4 under the cover of the footbridge. Getting into Building 4 after-hours is a little tricky, but always try the Thomas Street doors as they stay unlocked a bit later. These doors and the Turner Lane fire exit are sometimes left ajar. There is sometimes a security guard at Thomas Street; if so, approach him/her with your hands full of large bags of McDonald’s. The idea is to convince him/her that you are meeting someone already inside the building and/or you cannot use PIN entry.

If you need to escape and find yourself locked in by all the security, take a lift to level 1 and exit via the southern (Broadway end) fire stairs to Turner Lane.


“Markets” / Faculty of Law / Business / Education / Nursing / Did We Mention The Library? Building

5A is the Library, closest to Broadway. There is no connection* to 5B, which is the Law Faculty (mostly). This flows on seamlessly to 5C, which is the Faculty of Business (mostly), and then Another French Café leads you to 5D (not really much compared to the other three — people sometimes think it’s still 5C).

Building 5 was developed in stages, with the Faculty of Law finally moving from Harris Street to 5B in 1997. This consumed one of the remaining patches of grass, in the bottom nook of the ‘E’ of the building. The Faculty of Business had its expansion completed in 1999 and this took up the remainder of the grass. There is a Markets version of the Union Bar and Alleged Food Joint, which was refurbished in 2000 at a cost of $1 million. So use it, dammit. (Still, the 3 public phones in the connecting hallway to 5B remain AWOL).

Don’t even bother using the lifts here — they have the peak acceleration of a Lego electric motor and spend forever trying to land before the doors finally open. There are identical ones in 5B and 5C, and they are the slowest in the whole university. In fact, they put nice stairs right next to both of them to tempt you to exercise.

If you’re heading for level 2 of 5B, coming down from Railway Square, why not take the Fire Exit doors? They’ll save you walking half a floor and a lot of time. These are almost always left open by a kind soul from AustLII.

*You can actually escape from the Library, in times of fire, to the Union Bar and Alleged Food Joint. Interestingly, fire drills seem to occur in Building 5 all the time. Interestingly, people tend not to take notice of the “leave your belongings behind” instructions in fire drills. Interestingly, people regard the library books they’re holding as belongings. Interestingly, all the metal detectors for the library are not colocated at the fire exits. The conclusion is left as an exercise for the reader.

Fire drills are also the perfect (perhaps only) opportunity to chat to the Dean of Law and other senior lecturers.

More on Building 5 to come later.


Faculty of Design (Building), Architecture (Building) and Building (Building) Building

Building people definitely know how to build buildings. This is by far the nicest building in UTS, and has the nicest lifts, courtesy of Otis. There is another large lecture theatre here, so if you have an odd lecture there, simply take the smaller set of stairs and follow the crowds to the right. This lecture theatre has nice headrests suitable for napping; the telephone extension at stage right provides endless potential for student pranks.

This building is full of resources, such as a large cafeteria, basketball courts, various lounge areas, clean toilets, daily-use vending lockers (the ones that used to say “LOCKERS ARE FOR CASUAL USE” but now say “HOOKERS ARE FOR CASUAL SEX”, and a budget-price colour/glossy printing centre which only takes EFTPOS. Ask for Naomi; she’s nice and efficient, especially if you can give her the PostScript job yourself, on a floppy disk.

But normally you print to the Digital Image Centre directly from the G3 Macs in the ITD lab on the basement level 2. (Don’t forget to change KeyAccess server to UTS Backbone E2). Building 6 is full of computing resources like this lab, which is located squarely under the Harris Street footpath. All UTS students can use this lab (except when classes are booked at the most inconvenient of times); it is usually nice and empty, has less restrictions and its printer does duplex printing; however it does close at 9pm. There are other Faculty [of DAB] Computing labs that are protected from you by nothing more than a metal detector. Here you will find more labs of very recent Macs and Silicon Graphics machines, for those with expensive tastes.

Access to Building 6 is most recommended via the footbridge, which actually begins around to the right from the main UTS Tower entrance (also upstairs from the Union bar’s delivery entrance). Do not be stupid and get run over by the Harris Street traffic. Getting to the labs on level 2 is easiest from the carpark entrance at the north end, adjacent to the ABC construction site. Future plans include access from the old Redfern—Powerhouse rail tunnel, which may be joined to the Devonshire Street pedestrian tunnel to Central.


Blackfriars Campus

This campus is not much more than a rumour. You may go here once in your whole degree, if you can actually find it on the other side of Broadway. If you do, may I recommend the tasty hamburgers at the store on the corner of Myrtle and Buckland Streets, Chippendale.


Buildings with letters for their names are occasionally sought by people who are looking for their TAFE course. If you meet such a person, kindly ask them if they are looking for UTS or for SIT (Sydney Institute of Technology), the latter having buildings in Harris Street and also next to Burger King Railway Square. If you are looking for Building Z, put this guide down slowly and go and enrol across the road before anyone notices.


Not technically part of UTS. But if you are studying law, you are hereby warned that the UTS Library contains inadequate amounts of law materials. Since the Fisher Library at the University of Sydney is not much farther than Building 7, you may as well try there first, before you spend half a day and catch a bus to UNSW Kensington. UNSW’s library is that big building with the “UNSW” on it, by the way.